Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Contracts of Alembic

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Contracts of Alembic

    While digging around my hard drive, found some old homebrew material for a Changeling character I played quite a while back - the cleaner for a court hitsquad ostensibly put together to take out fetches. Anyway, this one set of Contracts only needed a little bit of dusting off, so I decided to post it here, despite 2e being firmly on the horizon.

    Jesse, let's cook.


    CONTRACTS OF ALEMBIC
    Thought to have been first forged somewhere in the Middle-East, where the Courts change with the passage of hours, the Contracts of the Alembic allow changelings to work wonders of alchemy that rely more on narrative convention than atomic law. Particularly popular among the wizened, these powers rely on use of a lab space, and reward some fairly erratic behaviour - as such, alchemists tend to work alone, in inhospitable but well-stocked laboratory-Hollows. This position does little to improve their sanity, perceived or otherwise.

    Though these Contracts often refer to “potions” and similar terms, they have no bias in favour of liquid - or even edible - products. Balms and oils, pellets and powders, even incense and smokables are all valid ways in which the alchemist’s art can manifest itself.

    Universal Modifiers: All but the first of these clauses require the use of chemical equipment, whether modern distillation tanks or a home-made pestle and mortar, and apply equipment modifiers to the Contract's dice pool. Specialties in “Alchemy”, “Chemistry” or similar areas are always considered applicable to these activation rolls, regardless of the Skill they are associated wi
    th.

    Extended actions produced by these Contracts consist of a number of intervals no greater than the changeling's Science. These are distributed throughout the process according to the Storyteller's discretion. He can also add a +1 or +2 bonus by doubling or tripling the amount of time the process takes, taking especial care over his concoctions. Further extensions offer no benefit.


    LITMUS TONGUE (•)
    The changeling divines the entire chemical makeup of an object or substance with but a taste.
    Cost: 1 Glamour
    Dice Pool: Wyrd + Wits
    Action: Instant
    Catch: The Contract must be used to analyze something that is dangerous to the changeling when ingested. This offers no protection against the substance, and the applicability (or not) of this clause cannot be used to determine a substance’s safety ahead of time.
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The changeling is completely mistaken about the recipe of whatever he’s tasting, drawing misleading or even dangerous conclusions.
    Failure: The character learns nothing concrete.
    Success: The character intuits the substance’s composition - every present element, mixture, compound and so on. He also learns the proportions in which they are present, and the nature of their inclusion - contamination as opposed to coating, for example.
    Exceptional Success: Along with its composition, the changeling also learns the details of the substance’s creation - how long it was heated at what temperature, what tools were used to distil or smelt or glaze it, and so on.
    Suggested Modifiers:
    +1 The character swallows at least a full mouthful of the substance.
    +1 The changeling is familiar with the substance’s fundamental ingredients.

    GENIUS OF IMPROVISATION (••)
    The changeling can replace ingredients in his brews with implausible substitutes, whether replacing Sudafed with gravel when cooking up drugs or using paper in place of apples for a hot pie. Only mundane ingredients can be replaced in this way.
    Cost: 1 Glamour

    Dice Pool: Wyrd + Science
    Action: Instant
    Catch: Every time the changeling has made something using the replaced ingredient in the past month, he's used this same substitute to replace it.
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The substitution appears to work perfectly, only to totally spoil the mixture in some unforeseeable way - beverages become poisons, explosives become stink bombs.
    Failure: The Contract fails to function, and the added item clearly retains its usual properties.
    Success: The added ingredient perfectly replaces whatever the original recipe called for. It does not transform, but simply gains all the appropriate properties for that recipe. These properties only manifest as part of a greater mixture, and last for only (Wyrd) days after the concoction’s completion, before the ingredient returns to normal.
    Exceptional Success: The altered recipe retains its intended properties indefinitely.
    Suggested Modifiers:
    -1 Other ingredients have been substituted with this Contract (-1 each).
    +1 The changeling is experienced with this recipe, regardless of substitutions.

    ELEMENTARY DISTILLATION (•••)
    The changeling can reduce any object down to one of its constituent substances through an arcane alchemical process. This can involve anything from boiling to sun-drying and takes no fewer than (object’s Size) hours, but is fairly low-intensity and can be left mostly alone between intervals. Objects with a Size greater than the changeling’s Wyrd + Intelligence + Craft cannot be processed.
    Cost: (object’s Size ÷ 4) Glamour, rounded up
    Dice Pool: Wyrd + Craft + equipment
    Action: Extended
    Catch: The changeling intends to use the product of this Contract as an ingredient in a mixture.
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The object is violently wasted, yielding nothing but a useless, half-recognizable mess of rust and hedge-mud which damages the changeling’s equipment beyond use.
    Failure: The object breaks down into an unusable, half-dissolved mess.
    Success: The intended material is extracted from its parent object in whatever (physically possible) form the changeling desires - powder, crystals, liquid solution, etc - reducing the latter to an unidentifiable stain in the process. Only substances that actually exist within the treated object can be extracted - this Contract does not create matter, just retrieve it. Common materials such as iron, glass or rubber require two successes to distil. Rarer or more precious materials such as gold, uranium or diamonds require five successes.
    Exceptional Success: At the last moment the changeling spots a rare reaction, and can capture its product instead of the material he originally intended to extract. This substance is some ethereal quality of the original object, captured in a physical form - crystallized crimson, or liquid sharpness. Though useless for practical craft, such things can fetch a price at Goblin Markets or be used in hedgespinning.
    Suggested Modifiers:
    +2 The distilling equipment is large enough to fully encompass or submerge the object.
    +1 The changeling has Clarity lower than five.
    -2 The object is not even half-way submerged or encompassed by the distilling gear.
    -1 The changeling has a Clarity higher than five.

    THE GREAT WORK (••••)
    The changeling can produce potions and tinctures with the same effect as the mystical bounty of the Hedge (Changeling: The Lost, pp. 222). He can duplicate any he has so far encountered, or create effects original to him with sufficient research. This process requires eight successes and takes no less than three hours of undisturbed work.
    Cost: 2 Glamour + 1 Willpower
    Dice Pool: Wyrd + Occult + equipment
    Action: Extended
    Catch: The character is working in the Hedge, alone except for any hobgoblin assistants.
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The synthetic "fruit" has all the downsides - and none of the benefits - of its “natural” equivalent. If it has normally has no downsides, the Storyteller may invent a suitable one, or else choose one from another fruit.
    Failure: Despite the changeling’s best efforts, his creation is at best harmless.
    Success: The changeling has managed to concoct a compound with a magical effect equivalent to a goblin fruit, oddment or trifle. The logic of the imitated token must remain intact - a Stingseed might be an Arcadian-derived chemical for use in dart rounds, while a Gravenail would be a Hedge-perfume sprinkled on a pillow. He can also spend a point of Willpower to allow mortals to make use of it. These tokens do not spoil as fruits and oddments do, but still count against the usual limit that can be carried (1 for mortals).
    Exceptional Success: The creation is particularly concentrated, allowing it to be used twice. This does not increase the number of “slots” it occupies.
    Suggested Modifiers:
    +5 The changeling uses an existing fruit, oddment or trifle with the same qualities as a component in his brew.
    +2 The changeling has Clarity lower than five.
    -2 The changeling’s Clarity is higher than five.
    -1 Exclusively mundane ingredients are in use.

    CAULDRON FOR A WOMB (•••••)
    The changeling can derive artificial life from his experiments, incubating something that could pass for a soul within his beakers and vats. This requires one week of largely uninterrupted work, and ten successes. Creating life with this Contract is a Clarity 5 Sin.
    Cost:
    5 Glamour

    Dice Pool: Wyrd + Occult + equipment
    Action: Extended
    Catch: At each roll the changeling makes, he must include a lethal health level's worth of flesh or blood from a different changeling.
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: The homunculus is born as described below, built by the Storyteller with successes equal to the changeling's Wyrd x 4. However, more than a hobgoblin, it ultimately resembles a Fetch. It naturally hates its creator for bringing it into existence, and can include any Echoes as though they were Contracts with a dot rating equal to their minimum Wyrd - treat the creator as "its" changeling.
    Failure: The clause fails, producing nothing but unsightly sludge of half-formed inhuman organs.
    Success: A synthetic hobgoblin stumbles from the changeling's workshop. It resembles a stunted human, with other qualities determined by the ingredients used - which always includes at least one Flaw. Its traits are determined by the player at its birth, though the alchemist should have a general idea while incubating it - it begins with 1 dot in every Attribute, Size 1 and no Skills. Successes are spent to increase these values, up to the usual maximum for a human, at a rate of two per Attribute and one per Skill, Size or Specialty. As its name suggests, a homunculus cannot be bigger than Size 4. It is Wyrd 1, though it can only regain Glamour through artificial versions of the Hedge's bounty, created through this Contract. It has the qualities of a single Seeming appropriate to its ingredients, and can be born with innate powers derived from the flesh of any fae creatures used to make it - these are represented by Contracts, at a cost of three successes per Contract dot. It is naturally loyal to its creator, but is ultimately an independent being - if sufficiently maltreated, it will consider betrayal. Most do not live long enough for this to become an issue, as the creature's natural lifespan is one year.
    Exceptional Success: A truly brilliant creation is formed - the extra successes are their own reward.
    Suggested Modifiers:
    +3 A sapient creature was used as a primary ingredient, freshly killed for that purpose.
    +2 The changeling has Clarity lower than five.
    -3 The ingredients include no flesh or blood from a sapient creature.
    -2 The changeling’s Clarity is higher than five.
    Last edited by Revlid; 09-26-2015, 08:37 PM.

  • #2
    The fifth clause is pointless. Goblin fruits and oddments are already usable outside the Hedge, so the clause gives no benefit but costs a great deal.

    Comment


    • #3
      Maybe the clause should allow keep and preserve goblin fruits beyond the changeling Wyrd´s limit instead.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you're going to be doing something good with goblin fruit the best angle that springs to mind is making it such that it can effect mortals.

        Honestly tho, I love the first three clauses and then am very meh about the last two. I feel like it's a sudden shift in tone from chemistry/alchemy to ... something else not so well fitting.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
          The fifth clause is pointless. Goblin fruits and oddments are already usable outside the Hedge, so the clause gives no benefit but costs a great deal.
          By default, Goblin Fruits and Oddments spoil three days after being picked. This clause allows you to create whatever fruits you like without needing to scavenge or hunt for them in the Hedge, which is intended to be a dangerous place, and allows them to last indefinitely.

          I've shuffled around some of the redundant modifiers into a "Universal Modifiers" bar at the top, altered the 5-dot clause to make it clearer how it's supposed to work, and changed the "Exceptional Success" effect of the 4-dot clause.

          The thought behind the two of those, structurally, is that each clause in this Contract takes you further away from the literal physical makeup of things, and more into bonkers concept-alchemy suited to the Hedge. The first three dots make you a really great (albeit wacky) chemist, but the exceptional success of the third takes you into goblin market-level weirdness. The fourth builds on that and lets you make the Evil Queen's transformation potion by boiling ugly and old things together, and the fifth lets you outright make magic healing cocaine or whatever - which functions in the same way as a goblin fruit.

          Functionally speaking, Marlo LeMane used the first for CSI, the second in sabotage and everyday chemistry, the third to break down corpses, the fourth to provide his motley with cover to get around unrecognized with zero effort, and the fifth for a combination of hipflask utility belt, goblin trading fodder, and providing magical healing cocaine to the Court.
          Last edited by Revlid; 02-04-2015, 09:38 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Generally speaking you can preserve goblin fruits to last longer then 3 days without this Contract. Some can be dried, others made into preserves, and so on.

            Yes, I do get that the alchemy is supposed to start out grounded in the physically possible and then get stranger and more esoteric. Having thought more about the shift in tone, the problem (for me) is really in the fourth Clause. The first three Clauses as well as the last are focused on the material in some way. "I can change this compound for that compound, I can refine this other compound." False-Face Philtre isn't focused on the compound it's just an effect that can be saved for later; no different than Dreamweaving Eternal Spring 3 into a pillow for easy healing later.

            Debate about what it should do aside, the fifth Clause is back to focusing on the material. Thematically I think you'd get better cohesion if you remove False-Face and move goblin fruit manipulation down to four. Then you can make 5 something really impressive like transmuting one hedgespinning ingredient into another.
            Last edited by helel; 02-04-2015, 12:43 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by helel View Post
              Generally speaking you can preserve goblin fruits to last longer then 3 days without this Contract. Some can be dried, others made into preserves, and so on.

              Yes, I do get that the alchemy is supposed to start out grounded in the physically possible and then get stranger and more esoteric. Having thought more about the shift in tone, the problem (for me) is really in the fourth Clause. The first three Clauses as well as the last are focused on the material in some way. "I can change this compound for that compound, I can refine this other compound." False-Face Philtre isn't focused on the compound it's just an effect that can be saved for later; no different than Dreamweaving Eternal Spring 3 into a pillow for easy healing later.

              Debate about what it should do aside, the fifth Clause is back to focusing on the material. Thematically I think you'd get better cohesion if you remove False-Face and move goblin fruit manipulation down to four. Then you can make 5 something really impressive like transmuting one hedgespinning ingredient into another.
              What. False-Face Philtre is a contract that steeps itself in the long tradition of Clauses that have nothing you want your contract to do. Why have a Dreaming 1 or 5 contract that makes sense when you can just bullshit one outside of it.

              Snarky remarks aside, I agree. The Clause just feels like you have other Contracts for that. The fifth is rather dull for a penultimate contract but that's honestly not out of place for changeling contracts sadly. However, if you wanted to make it impressive I'd probably make the fifth clause perform Spell like effects with the right Hedge materials looking at old fairy tales of witches brewing magical potions but that's just me.
              Last edited by Epimetheus; 02-04-2015, 02:07 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by helel View Post
                Generally speaking you can preserve goblin fruits to last longer then 3 days without this Contract. Some can be dried, others made into preserves, and so on.

                Yes, I do get that the alchemy is supposed to start out grounded in the physically possible and then get stranger and more esoteric. Having thought more about the shift in tone, the problem (for me) is really in the fourth Clause. The first three Clauses as well as the last are focused on the material in some way. "I can change this compound for that compound, I can refine this other compound." False-Face Philtre isn't focused on the compound it's just an effect that can be saved for later; no different than Dreamweaving Eternal Spring 3 into a pillow for easy healing later.
                Ahhh.

                You know, I can tell you exactly why I didn't think of involving hedgespinning - we didn't have Rites of Spring back when we were playing that game, just the corebook and Autumn Nightmares. Also dreamweaving (or oneiromancy in general) never really came up, somehow.

                Well, anyway, I've switched things up according to your advice. Making goblin fruits is buffed, four dots, and doesn't bother with preservation. Five dots is takwin, typically a height of alchemy, to provide you with short-lived custom hobgoblin servants.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                  What. False-Face Philtre is a contract that steeps itself in the long tradition of Clauses that have nothing you want your contract to do. Why have a Dreaming 1 or 5 contract that makes sense when you can just bullshit one outside of it.
                  Well, in fairness to those Clauses, Contracts are not intended to be specialized utility trees. Their powers are linked by theme and the story-nature of the things they're signed with, rather than strict usage - a perfectly valid power here, and one I considered in the shuffle, would be something like "Snake Oil Bargain", allowing you to convince others that your tincture or brew is just what they need to solve their problems. Nothing to do with actually making potions, but it's part of the story-nature of the crazy apothecary who hocks dubious potions and lives alone in a lab filled with arcane glass tubes and so on.

                  Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                  However, if you wanted to make it impressive I'd probably make the fifth clause perform Spell like effects with the right Hedge materials looking at old fairy tales of witches brewing magical potions but that's just me.
                  Well, that's what the five-dot (now four-dot) clause is for. You can brew an essentially infinite (new goblin fruits or trifles can always be homebrewed) array of magic potions. They're just relatively low-powered and represented using existing mechanics.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I like it. It really ramps up from simple chemistry to "impossible" feats of elemental manipulation. Where The Great Work is concerned I would add a penalty based on the rarity/power of the mimicked effect. After all, goblin fruits cover everything form heal a lethal to Hera Pears. Something ranging from -0 (basic healing fruit) to -5 (Hera Pear). But that's just minor details.

                    Another minor thought: It might be fun if the lower dots get a bonus from high Clarity, down where things make chemical sense, and then at higher levels you get the bonus for low Clarity, where things make thematic sense. It also makes sense that the perception bonuses from Clarity apply to the first dot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Revlid View Post
                      Well, in fairness to those Clauses, Contracts are not intended to be specialized utility trees. Their powers are linked by theme and the story-nature of the things they're signed with, rather than strict usage - a perfectly valid power here, and one I considered in the shuffle, would be something like "Snake Oil Bargain", allowing you to convince others that your tincture or brew is just what they need to solve their problems. Nothing to do with actually making potions, but it's part of the story-nature of the crazy apothecary who hocks dubious potions and lives alone in a lab filled with arcane glass tubes and so on.


                      Well, that's what the five-dot (now four-dot) clause is for. You can brew an essentially infinite (new goblin fruits or trifles can always be homebrewed) array of magic potions. They're just relatively low-powered and represented using existing mechanics.
                      Personal grip is that it should have either been similar to Demon and completely grab bag or structured. Halvies suck for people who only get half of what they want.

                      It's not a bad power though. I'd probably make the extra successes count ever additional one after five another creature. Simply because they aren't really want just one. It's less a super minion creator an more a mass one.

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X